I've decided that I this post will probably be like the first edition to a series of many more. (Also, I realize I really need to make a graphic or something for this. So I'm getting on that soon-ish.)
So, here are some things I've learned.
1) It takes up a TON of your time.
Since I started the blog, I've hardly been on main Tumblr, I've barely been on my main twitter (although that may be for the better), I realize that I have a lot less time to watch my TV shows, and I've neglected many other forms of social media not related to this blog. And while I'm happy with the way my blog is going, I wonder if I'm too invested in this blog. Maybe I am. Maybe I'm not. But I want to find a better balance.
Additionally, managing my time is HARD. There are posts to write and schedule, there are tours and blasts and blitzes to keep track of and sign up for, there are twitter chats to participate in, there are books to read, there are TV shows to watch, there are artists to listen to, and there are movies to watch. And that's just the beginning. Given, it's a bit more difficult here because I'm not just book oriented, though it may seem that way. (I've just fallen very far behind on many of my TV shows, and it's a lot easier to read a book while pretending to do homework than it is to watch a TV show.)
2) You're not going to become the next big blogger.
I didn't expect to become a really popular blog very quickly, but many of those bigger blogs did intimidate me a lot. Like how can I compete with that?! I can't code, I can't read nearly as quickly, I don't have connections, I can't get authors and other bloggers to pay attention to me, etc etc. Sure, there are some people that can hit it big in a few months (ahem, Meredith @ Pandora's Books), but most new bloggers won't. Maybe we'll never make it big. And that's okay too. I enjoy the friends I've made so far, and I'm enjoying this experience.
3) Participate and be active in the community!
This sounds so painfully obvious, and every blogger has given this advice, but I never really considered it. Many times, I figured that bloggers would mostly comment on their friends' blogs and posts. But that isn't always the case. Just the other day, Cait from The Notebook Sisters found me through one of the comments I posted on their/her blog. You may not think bloggers would go check out your blog, and some probably won't, but some do!
But even besides that, get active on Twitter (and possibly FB and Pinterest. I'm not as into those for blogging)! Talk to authors, comment on people's tweets, answer another blogger's question (even if you don't think they'd care), participate in an author or Twitter chat, ask people for advice, and so much more! I can't tell you how glad I am that I've been participating in some author chats. Not only are there opportunities to win cool stuff, you also get a chance to meet new bloggers, you get to learn more about the author, and so much more. Besides, it's FUN!
4) Don't expect free books and ARCs, but don't count yourself out either.
I asked for an ARC through Kat Zhang's site. I was honest and said that I was just starting out but that I was trying hard and at least, I could reach my local community since I write for the school paper. I was definitely not expecting a reply and definitely not an ARC at all. And guess what I got? Yup. An ARC.
I also tried to request an ARC of Lauren DeStefano's upcoming book, Perfect Ruin. I definitely did not think I would get it. I wasn't even informed about it. It just arrived one day and took me by surprise.
I've won a couple of Goodreads contests, as well as other books through Twitter contests and author chats.
On the flip side, however, this doesn't mean that you should expect to receive a bunch of free books and such. I have an Edelweiss and netgalley account. I tried getting a few books. But the thing is, I quickly realized that I've only just started. It makes sense that they'd give it to other people. And that's okay. I'm still new to this whole blogging thing. For the past 4 years or so, my reading habits get worse and worse during the school year. Suddenly having so many new books to read (I don't get to buy them often) and still so little time to read them has partially been why I've been neglectful of social media (see #1), but it also made me realize that I'm not ready to be bombarded by books yet. I already have no idea how I'm going to manage to read everything I have in a timely manner. I honestly don't. So that's why I don't mind that I'm not getting all these books/ebooks.
5) Utilize the library.
I mean, I've always loved the library, and I've always borrowed tons of books from the library because I don't get a chance to buy books very often. But I still wasn't utilizing the inter-library loan system. I'd used it a bit before but not usually for books. I would just scan the shelves at the library and take something that seemed interesting. Not only am I more open to new books, new genres, new authors, etc, I'm more knowledgeable about how to use what I have. It's okay that you're not reviewing new books. Read what you'd like, explore a bit, see what others are reading, and just enjoy it. Write a review if you'd like. Don't if you don't.
There are SO many other things I've already learned, but I suppose I'll stop it there for now. This post was supposed to be about how I choose which books to read first, but then I thought this would be more interesting, and because I've honestly been having a tough time deciding as well.
As always, thanks for stopping by!